Buffalo Sabres interim head coach Don Granato did not sound very optimistic about his No. 1 goalie's outlook for the rest of the 2020-21 season.
Granato confirmed on Friday that goalie Linus Ullmark is out on a week-to-week basis with a lower-body injury, but acknowledged that there are only so many weeks left in the season. Buffalo only has 13 games remaining over the next four weeks, with the regular season finale set for Saturday, May 8 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The 27-year-old netminder was forced to leave Tuesday night's game against the Boston Bruins just 4:54 into the contest after he appeared to be in discomfort after making a save.
Ullmark just returned from a lower-body injury back on March 27 that forced him to miss more than a month of game action. In his eight games played during that span, Ullmark played very well with a 4-2-1 record, a 2.94 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage.
Overall this season, Ullmark had earned nine of Buffalo's 11 total wins, going 9-6-3 with a 2.63 goals-against average and .917 save percentage.
Dustin Tokarski was forced to enter Tuesday's game and played very well, making 29 saves on 31 shots faced in the final 60:06 of game time to help earn Buffalo a point in a 3-2 shootout loss.
Thursday night saw Tokarski back in goal against the Washington Capitals, where he made 27 saves on 29 shots faced to earn his first win in the National Hockey League since Dec. 12, 2015. The Sabres managed to close out their season series with the Capitals with a 5-2 win at Capital One Arena.
Tokarski has played admirably in his limited action this season, going 1-4-2 in his seven games played with a 3.32 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage.
The starting net will likely belong to Tokarski for the time being with Michael Houser serving as his backup.
Granato did provide some, perhaps, promising news pertaining to Carter Hutton, as the veteran goalie is back on the ice skating on his own. However, the team does not have much information right now on a timetable for a possible return for Hutton.
The 35-year-old netminder is rehabbing a lower-body injury suffered back on March 22 early in a game against the New York Rangers.
Granato was also asked on Friday about the status of goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, who has not been on the ice much in Rochester as he is dealing with an injury of his own. The interim head coach says there will be a determination on Luukkonen's status later Friday, but the team wants to try and get him back in Buffalo so they can integrate him at some point this weekend.
So far this season with the Rochester Americans, Luukkonen has had his ups-and-downs with a 7-5-2 record in 14 games played with a 3.60 goals-against average and an .888 save percentage.
There were a couple other injury updates from Granato on Friday:
- Kyle Okposo is visiting with doctors on Friday and should have more details on his status on Saturday. The veteran forward left Thursday's game near the halfway point of the first period after taking a dump-in attempt by defenseman Matt Irwin to the head.
- Riley Sheahan remains day-to-day with upper-body "soreness" after leaving Tuesday's night game against the Bruins. Granato says they will continue to evaluate his status each day as he continues to make progress, but he still has a ways to go.
The Sabres were back on the ice on Friday as the team gets ready to face the Penguins on Saturday afternoon at KeyBank Center. Faceoff is set for 3 p.m. ET for the first of a two-game weekend set with Pittsburgh in Buffalo.
A reminder that Saturday's game will be televised on NBC, so the only place to catch all your pregame coverage (2 p.m. ET with Brian Koziol) and the play-by-play call with Dan Dunleavy and Rob Ray is on the radio home of the Sabres - WGR Sports Radio 550.